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Thursday round-up

Although the oral arguments in the challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage are now less than two weeks away, yesterday’s big news came from Chief Justice John Roberts, who reported for jury duty in Maryland (but was not selected).  Dan Morse and Robert Barnes of The Washington Post have the story.

Turning to the same-sex-marriage issue, this blog featured the first in a two-part series by Michael Klarman on the history of the same-sex marriage movement.  In The Salt Lake Tribune, Jennifer Dobner reports that a “Mormon couple in a mixed-orientation marriage are objecting to their inclusion in a U.S. Supreme Court case filing because it argues that legalized gay marriage would demean the marriages of couples like themselves.”  In the free times, Eva Moore reports on the amicus brief filed by South Carolina in support of the states; the brief argues that the Fourteenth Amendment, “which promises equal protection to all people, doesn’t guarantee a right to same-sex marriage.”  At Time, Zeke Miller and Haley Edwards report that, in anticipation of a possible ruling striking down the state bans on same-sex marriage, conservative activists are “tak[ing] on a central tenet of modern American politics: that the Supreme Court has the final say on what is the law of the land.”  And at Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur reports that newly announced presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “appears to have shifted her view toward a full embrace of marriage equality. Her new position? Marriage should be a constitutional right for same-sex couples.”

Commentary on the same-sex marriage cases comes from Gene Schaerr, who argues at Public Discourse that “Justice Kennedy was right to be concerned about the harmful social effects of such a redefinition of marriage—especially on the children of heterosexuals”; from Katy Faust, who in another post at Public Discourse urges Kennedy “to resist the erroneous arguments that only animus or phobia drives the opposition to same-sex marriage” because of “the self-evident truth that mothers and fathers are irreplaceable in a child’s life.”

Last night the Court’s three current female Justices honored the first female Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, for (among other things) her promotion of civics education and her contributions to the work of the Court.  Mark Walsh covered the event for Education Week’s School Law Blog (subscription required), while Tony Mauro did the same for the Blog of Legal Times (subscription also required).


  • In the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro reviews the cases slated for oral argument in the April sitting, focusing on the challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol.
  • In anticipation of the ninety-fifth birthday of Justice John Paul Stevens next week, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times looks at his life after the Court and notes that, “[f]ar from the bland endorsements of the rule of law that are typical of judicial speeches, his feature trenchant critiques of recent and not-so-recent Supreme Court decisions.”
  • At the Huffington Post, Stacy Seicshnaydre discusses the oral argument, and in particular a question posed by the Chief Justice, in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, in which the Court is considering whether a disparate-impact cause of action is available under the Fair Housing Act.
  • Teri Sforza of the Orange County Register reports that, “[a]fter eight tortured years, vindication inches ever closer for Robert MacLean, [the] fired federal air marshal” who won a victory in his whistleblowing case at the Court earlier this Term.
  • In commentary at Slate, Cristian Farias suggests that the Court’s recent decision in Heien v. North Carolina “allows the kind of traffic stop that led” to the death of Walter Scott, the South Carolina motorist who was shot as he ran from police.

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 16, 2015, 10:39 AM),